What impedes your ability to grow, compete, and create new value for your customers?
Ironically, many executives argue their systems -- more specifically, their ERP systems -- are hampering their growth.
They claim their legacy ERP applications are preventing them from becoming strategically agile, operationally responsive, and globally competitive.
How could this be? According to industry research, companies that adopt ERP systems are far more dynamic and prosperous than their rivals.
"There are discernible and, in many cases significant, differences in the operational and planning efficiencies of companies that invested in ERP," according to Aberdeen Group. "It is especially true for companies that are considered Best-in-Class for ERP."
Year to year average gains for these top performers:
• 22% reduction in inventory levels;
• 97% inventory accuracy;
• 4.4 days to close a month;
• 96% manufacturing schedule compliance; and
• 98% complete and on-time shipments.
But it's one thing to be more capable than struggling companies.
It's another thing altogether to be as fast, dynamic and capable as customers expect in today's demanding and highly contested markets.
As the mounting frustrations of today's manufacturing executives suggest, it's no longer enough to simply use ERP. That's a given. You have to capitalize on it. Indeed, the question is whether you are driving your business with the assistance of ERP or your business is being driven (and constrained) by your ERP system.
Increasingly, you have to be a top performing ERP adopter to merely remain in the game. Yesterday's leading edge is fast becoming the minimum expectation.
So what's stopping companies from being more effective with their ERP systems? What are their main complaints with their existing platforms?
Too complex. They are difficult to use, integrate and deploy. Rollouts can take months or years, and upgrades can slow down operations and undermine strategic business objectives.
Too expensive. Customization and integration can add tremendous cost to an ERP deployment -- and huge investments of this sort drive down your ROI.
Too inflexible. As you may well know, the burden of ERP upgrades and enhancements can hold your business back. You may want to champion change and agility, but your ERP system can keep you frozen in time.
Why are these systems so complex, expensive and inflexible?
There are two core issues to consider: navigation and integration.
Navigating today's sea of information is the first problem. Right now, ERP users are often finding themselves trapped in their systems. You can't find the information you want when you want it -- much less the actionable intelligence you require to make smart and successful decisions.
Reason? The data you seek is locked away in disparate systems and sources, inaccessible from the application in use.
What's more, the user experience is often painfully awkward and unpleasant. You are unable to easily navigate from one screen to another. So you are certainly unable to move easily from one application to another.
If you do so, you may have to sign out and then sign on again. Even then, you'll often find the look and feel of your tools has dramatically changed. This makes it hard to learn and master new tools, further undermining personal productivity.
In recent years, consumer technology has eclipsed business technology in terms of functionality, ease of use, and personal value. Having experienced the simplicity of a smart-phone and the navigational ease of an online app, you know just how good consumers have it. Unfortunately, business users may have to give that up when they use existing ERP systems. You shouldn't have to. But that's the current state.
Now, think about the integration factor. It's the issue driving cost and complexity to great heights with conventional ERP. You may recognize the necessity of tying your systems together -- your ERP, SCM, CRM, etc. -- in order to get access to the information you need in the context in which you need it. But those linkages tend to be expensive and complicated.
The expensive and proprietary middleware necessary to integrate apps is sure to drive down the returns on your ERP investment. And the typical challenges associated with customization will drive up costs and lead to long upgrade cycles.
Businesses may be able to integrate your applications eventually. But what will it cost? And how long will it take? What will such barriers mean in terms of missed opportunity and dampened growth potential?
Fortunately, these barriers need not stand in your way going forward. With the next generation of ERP systems, businesses can surmount these barriers and support your enterprise's strategic growth objectives.
• Get the information you need when you need it. You can access information wherever it resides and organize it as you wish. Immersed in a new role based workspace, you then can display it in ways that maximize your productivity. You'll get the business intelligence you require -- in the context you require it to make faster and more effective decisions.
• Navigate information from one universal interface. With a single sign on and a single screen, users can access a range of applications – whether they are on premise or in the cloud. With a single window into the data, you can navigate your apps even as the look and feel remains intuitive and consistent.
• Collaborate without boundaries. Not only will you have access to the information you require, you'll find it easy to share with your colleagues, customers and partners. You'll be able to work together -- in your ERP application -- in ways that were never possible in the past.
• Create connections quickly. With lightweight middleware based on open standards, managers can rapidly install, configure, and activate new linkages between applications. This will facilitate the flow of data and support the performance of application users.
• Streamline and automate workflows. Direct work activities, events, and business documents to your colleagues and partners. Automate approvals. Centrally manage tasks and alerts. This heightens the clarity and quality of your business processes, enabling your enterprise to rapidly scale up in relation to new market demands.
A consumer-grade experience that enhances both personal productivity and enterprise performance is the hallmark of the next generation of ERP. It will
• Deliver an engaging user experience and streamlined navigation;
• Integrate all your applications and data sources; and
• Enable you to drive your business to new levels.
To start thinking differently about ERP visit www.thinkyouknowerp.com